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the title, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History.
Financial and Personal.
Success At last he had found his public, had indeed "mastered fortune;" and from this time he was in receipt of a comfortable income. He also began to make friends, including Tennyson, whom he described as one of the finest men in the world," and Dickens, "the good, the gentle, highly-gifted, ever-friendly, noble Dickens." Of far more interest to the student of Carlyle is the friendship with Emerson, begun by correspondence some years before, and sealed during Emerson's tour of England in 1847.
Frederick the Great, completed in six volumes in 1865, was his last important work. In the same year he was elected Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh, the only public honor he received from his native country.
The Great Loss. Mrs. Carlyle's death in 1866 was a blow from which he never recovered. Honors came to him from many directions, some of which he declined; money was "superabundant," he said. But he felt his loss deeply; and the reading of Mrs. Carlyle's journal oppressed him, with its revelation of the strong points in her character which he had failed to appreciate.
Carlyle outlived his wife fifteen years, dying at the age of eighty-five. To Edinburgh University he left money enough to help ten students, the foundation being named after his wife's father, John Welsh; and to Harvard a large section of his library. By his own express wish he was buried at Ecclefechan.
Carlyle's Test for Greatness. In popular thought Carlyle is the worshipper of heroes, and the champion of his country.
We have referred to his two works in behalf of Burns's reputation. Scarcely less worthy of note is his championship of the character of James Boswell, so vigorously held up to ridicule by Macaulay a year before. In this Carlyle makes good use of an argument already used in the Essay on Burns and subsequently used in Heroes and Hero-Worship; namely, that recognition of greatness implies the possession of greatHe shows that if Boswell had been merely seeking notoriety there was no more unlikely person for him to attach himself to than Samuel Johnson.
His Theory of History. - Carlyle is, however, undoubtedly of importance chiefly as historian. His theory of history, very clear and positive, is set forth in numerous places. "History," he says in the Essay on History, "is the essence. of innumerable Biographies." In the first lecture of Heroes and Hero-Worship it appears in these words: "Universal History is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here." In Sartor Resartus: "Great Men are the inspired (speaking and acting) Texts of that divine Book of REVELATIONS, whereof a Chapter is completed from epoch to epoch, and by some named HISTORY."
From this it is clear that to Carlyle a certain amount of hero-worship is necessary to write a history. The outcome of his method is not a canvas like Macaulay's giving a panoramic view of the country or period under consideration; but a canvas from which stand out a few conspicuous figures. Macaulay's method is admirably adapted to such a work as his England in 1685-chapter III of the History of England.
Carlyle's, however, is the better to give one a vivid conception of the figures who dominated the scene in Paris from 1789 to 1795. In his pages we come to know Marat of the "bleared soul;" Danton, "the huge, brawny figure;"
Mirabeau," the world-compeller," "manruling deputy," "roughest lion's whelp ever littered of that rough brood;" Robespierre, the "greenish-colored individual;" Lafayette, "whose name shall fill the world."
Carlyle's Gospel. — One result of his theory regarding history and hero-worship is what is commonly called Carlyle's
we have two Saint-Simonian Missionaries here; full of earnest zeal; copious enough in half-hua, and to the lather wearisome jargon. By and by won thould have some account of that matter. Southey's is the burs. Terly was trivial, burblind, and on the white erroneous and worthless. I know a man have, who could do it, herhaps much to your satisfaction.
Relics me always,
My Dear Sir
FACSIMILE OF A LETTER OF CARLYLE.
gospel." The essential stuff of all his heroes is "sincerity," the quality that enabled them to see into the heart of things, and made them act "sincerely" on the convictions resulting from this seeing. This led him to an outspoken and constantly-emphasized condemnation of sham, the prevalence of which he held responsible for most of his country's ills.
The influence of Carlyle has been
strong and far reaching. We seem to see it in Browning's
"A people is but the attempt of many
It can hardly have failed to influence Tennyson in such poems as Maud and Locksley Hall, with their notes of rebellion against "the social lies that warp us from the living truth." It was to the influence of Carlyle that Phillips Brooks, the great American preacher, and John Ruskin, perhaps the greatest English social reformer of the nineteenth century, attributed their determination to do and be something.
THE VICTORIAN NOVEL
Although there were a number of poets of first rank in Victorian England, the greatest achievements of the age were in prose. Of the two prose forms which reached a high development during this period - the novel and the essay
the first is secure in its preeminence. Essayists of the eighteenth century and the Romantic period may challenge the superiority of the later essayists; but great as are the novels of Richardson and Fielding, and of Jane Austen and Scott, it must be admitted that in total impression they fall below the great body of Victorian fiction.
For this age the novel surpassed in appeal every other form of literature, because of its greater capacity for giving expression to the many-sided life of the age. Of the Victorian novelists listed in Baker's Guide to the Best Fiction (more than a hundred) twelve seem to stand out as greater than the rest: Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Trollope,
Reade, Kingsley, the three Brontë sisters, Stevenson, George Meredith, and Thomas Hardy. Of these the last two have never reached a large audience, and hardly require to be discussed in a short history of English literature. Among the rest we must choose; 1 and we shall not vary much from either the critical or the popular judgment in choosing Dickens, Thackeray, and George Eliot from the realists. Stevenson must hold a place as the inaugurator of the reaction from realism and the return to romance.
CHARLES DICKENS, 1812-1870
It has been said that whenever literary London gets very dull somebody revives either the Bacon-Shakspere controversy or the reason of Dickens's popularity. The questions, "Did Bacon write Shakspere?" and "Why was Dickens popular?" are similar in their entire absurdity. A reading of Bacon's essay Of Love and Shakspere's Romeo and Juliet should answer the first; a reading of Oliver Twist, or David Copperfield, or A Tale of Two Cities, or Nicholas Nickleby, or any of six or eight other novels of Dickens, should answer the second.
Dickens's People. - Dickens was interested in people, so much interested that by the creations in his stories he added largely to the population of the world, especially that of England. This interest led to his career as reformer, to his humanitarianism, his continued efforts to improve the condition of the poor and down-trodden. All the country was waking to the need of reforming prisons and workhouses, and of abolishing the slums of London; and through
1 The writers omitted here are briefly characterized in the supplementary list, pages 374-379.